IDF cyber-defense control center goes online

After two years of planning, IDF introduce its control center into service after a dramatic rise in scope of attacks.

IDF officer on phone, computers 370 (photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
IDF officer on phone, computers 370
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
After two years of planning, the IDF introduced its cyber-defense control center into service in recent days. The development comes as senior army sources involved in cyber-defenses reported a dramatic rise in the capabilities and scope of attacks on the IDF’s digital infrastructure, ranging from state actors to amateur hackers.
“Few countries have this kind of [defense] ability,” one source said on Tuesday. “This is a part of the IDF’s readiness to ensure continuity of conventional operations. This continuity is based on cybersecurity.”
The control center will be staffed by 20 soldiers, and will enable the army to monitor all attempted virtual attacks. It will stay in close touch with the government’s cyber-defense system, called Tehila (the Hebrew acronym for “Government Infrastructure in the Internet Era”).
The center will also be in touch with the Shin Bet’s (Israel Security Agency’s) Information Security Authority, which is responsible for securing the nation’s energy infrastructure, financial markets, communications networks and transportation sector against hostile cyber-attacks.
“This is a nerve center for defense. It has impressive command capabilities,” the source said.
“It will be operational 24/7,” he added. “The world of attacks is changing rapidly.”
He conceded that 20 soldiers are insufficient in light of the threats, but said more soldiers were being trained to join the center.
The training involves a unique simulator that enables recruits to train in fending off cyber-attacks.
“It’s like a flight simulator, and to my knowledge, it is the first of its kind in the world,” the source said. “There has been an increase in the number of cyber-attacks.
“In this world, time has no significance – an attack can be launched immediately – and neither does distance. The attacker can be anywhere,” the source said.
“Two years ago, even my most pessimistic evaluations didn’t lead me to believe we’d be facing the challenges we’re seeing today,” the source continued.
“Our enemies are not stupid. They’re determined, and want to cause harm wherever they can.”